West African guitarist and vocalist Lionel Loueke and his trio will play two shows Saturday night at the Walton Arts Center’s 200-seat Starr Theater. Louke, bassist Massimo Biolcati and drummer Ferenc Nemeth, have won fans from both the old school jazz crowd and the summer festival goers, who first heard Loueke at Bonnaroo in 2007. Loueke released his first Blue Note album, Karibu, in 2008. He can bounce from acoustic to synthesizer and looping devices with ease. Highly recommended. Shows at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $15-$30.
If you haven’t checked out the new location of The Gypsy on North College, do it on Friday night when St. Louis’ John Henry and The Engine will be joining three local bands for a fat night of music. John Henry and The Engine have the vocal harmonies of The Beach Boys and leverage their infectious sound with well-ordered harmonica and violin. Also on the bill are NWA’s The Darksuits, Indiana & The Byrds and The People in the Paper.With a new guy in the drummer’s chair, Indiana & The Byrds are set to release a new album in April. Back in the early ’90s there was a Chicago band called The Blacks that came to town a couple of times with a killer singer named Danny Black. Rob Lee, Indiana’s lead vocalist, is about the closest thing we’ve heard since.
T For Texas
George’s will be brimming with sounds from the Lone Star State this week, including former Fayetteville star, Sarah Hughes, who are in town for a Wednesday night show at the club. Bleu Edmondson and his band and rocker Patrice Pike will hit the Dickson Street club. Edmondson and his band have been making Fayetteville a regular stop on their tour circuit for a couple of years now and each time they visit they pull in more fans wowed by the Texas soul infused country rock. Pike, who built a strong following here, for what, maybe a decade, hasn’t been in town for a while and no doubt will be pulling in a huge crowd. Blue Edmondson will play Saturday night and Patrice Pike on Feb. 19.
The Tony Award-winning musical Avenue Q will play the Walton Arts Center Feb. 17-22. The play received the Tony Award for or Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book in 2004. The adult comedy has a cast of human characters and puppet characters whose dreams of big city life are quashed by the struggle to make it in the Big Apple. The show features songs such as “It Sucks to Be Me” and “What Do You Do with a B.A. in English?” Based on a book by Jeff Whitty, Avenue Q was directed on Broadway by former Fayetteville resident Jason Moore. Moore was nominated for a Tony Award for his direction of Avenue Q. Tickets are $20-$58. And, if you want to hobnob with the cast, there will be an opening night party after the performance on Tuesday night for an extra $5.
The Perfect Valentine
If you’re stumped about something special to do on Valentine’s Day and don’t have a lot of cash to throw around, there is a solution, and a very fine one. Take yourself or your special someone to a free performance by the Arkansas Philharmonic at 7:30 p.m. at Arend Arts Center in Bentonville. Under the direction of Miles Fish, the orchestra will perform love songs by George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael and others. Featured vocalists will be Huw Priday, tenor and Elizabeth Woollett, soprano, of the United Kingdom. This new orchestra features several musicians who have performed with the North Arkansas Symphony and the Civic Symphony of Benton County. AAC is at 1901 SE “J” St. For information call 502-4164.
For another no-cost, but fun, Valentine’s night, head to Arsaga’s on Crossover for Kathy Cole & 4 Guys Named Moe. Kathy had a radio show called Red Eye R&B in Durham, N.H. for 17 years and now she’s here in the Ozarks and joined by “the four guys,” Buddy Shute on guitar, Bud Shaver on bass, Mark McGee on harmonica and Jim St. Clair on percussion.
For some laughs on Valentine’s Day… or the Friday before … make plans to attend the hilarious “Pearl’s Sixth White Trash Wedding” at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Parish Hall in Fayetteville. The original play by Ceramic Cow Production’s Mark Landon Smith is complete with a post play wedding reception with a finger food buffet. Tickets are $17 in advance or $20 at the door. For tickets call 571-4879.